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Desi Hits! Exclusive Interview With Sonu Niigaam

March 17 2009 20:30 PST

By: Anita Chatterjee

Sonu Niigaam is the man of the moment in the Hindi music industry today! Check out the exclusive interview with Sonu below.

AC: You have been in the Hindi Music industry since around 1991. I'm sure you have seen a lot of changes since then. How has it evolved?

Sonu: When I came to Mumbai from Delhi at age of 18 in 1991 there was no television channels or music companies to promote an album. So at that time, if you wanted to be in the industry, the best way to get into it was to pursue a career as a playback singer (singing for actors who would lip-sync the songs in Bollywood films). That was the aim of every singer.

The rest of the world was very different from how India worked back then. In other countries you could feature your own sound and get exposure through different music companies. You wouldn't have to depend on cinema. That's how India has been for more than 60 years. Now things have changed. Channels have given musicians more exposure. I hosted one of the biggest music reality shows in Asia, "Sa Re Gama," which really gave artists more exposure.

Now, you also see private as well as Bollywood albums in the market. I personally have done several private albums as well as Bollywood and Indie pop so things are changing. Also, a lot of avenues have opened up for singers such as songs for television, music videos, and an increase with music reality shows. In 1991 you had to be a really good singer to sing. Today, with all the technological advances it has become possible for people who cannot sing well to do it and that seems to happen a lot.

AC: Wouldn't you say that Bollywood films still dominate the music industry?

Sonu: Bollywood films still dominate but there is also a huge emphasis on events and television as well.

AC: Do you have any personal favorite Bollywood actors you like to sing for?

Sonu: I love to sing for Shahrukh and Salman but really I am a musician and I don't necessarily sing a song for the actor.

AC: What do you think of Bollywood movies embracing other genres of music like Hip-Hop and Rock?

Sonu: Well everyone is trying to embrace different kinds of music and they want to be more commercial. Indian film music has changed a lot in terms of style and arrangement. I think it is cool that genres like Hip-Hop are really showing up in the music now, just for some variety.

AC: What do you think about all the Collaborations like Snoop Dogg and RDB in Singh is Kinng?

Sonu: I am very happy that India is getting so much respect from other countries and collaborations are happening.

AC: Did you like the Pussycat Dolls "Jai Ho" Remix?

Sonu: I was one of the first to hear the Jai Ho remix. A.R. Rahman called me into the studio to listen to it and I loved it.

AC: Which artist from the west which you like to collaborate with?

Sonu: Well there are a lot of people I listen to and I think they are really good like John Legend, Beyonce, Christina Aguilera, Rihanna, Norah Jones. Nicole from the Pussycat Dolls is a good singer as well. I would love to do a song with the Black Eyed Peas and a lot of other rappers. I would love to work with Timbaland and Justin Timberlake.

AC: I hear you are working with A.R. Rahman and Kylie Minogue on the film, "Blue", can you tell me about it?

Sonu: I can say is that Kylie, me and A.R. Rahman worked on a track for the film and I sang for Akshay Kumar.

AC: So what's next for Sonu Niigaam?

Sonu: I have lived my life in a daze and I don't know how my fifteen years in the industry have passed. For the past two years, I have cracked down on the projects I work on and I am extremely cautious of the projects I pick. I am really trying to focus on quality now and not quantity. I don't want to exhaust myself. I am currently working on '3 Idiots', 'Ravan' and 'Blue' and I am working on some collaboration offers from the US. I will also be working on something with Jim Beanz from Timbaland's camp in Mumbai.

AC: Do you have a message you want to give to our readers?

Sonu: Yes, always do good deeds, do not ever behave mediocre in life. Remember that music is something very pure and we must respect and acknowledge good music in the world. There are people in the world that are blessed with good talent and they should use it. Lastly, I think your site is doing a great job by creating these collaborations between artists in India with ones in the US. I wish Desi Hits! the best.

Sonu Niigaam stock photo



The Network of Indian Professionals Heads to Toronto

March 17 2009 19:10 PST

NetIP (The Network of Indian Professionals), a predominately U.S. based organization, is heading to Toronto, Canada after ten years for their annual conference this September. Toronto is known for its ethnic diversity as well as in the areas of politics, business, media, arts and entertainment.

NetIP's President Aruna Paramasivam said about the event, "I am very excited about transcending borders to establish our presence in Canada to truly become NetIP North America in 2009. Toronto is an exciting and energetic city that is the perfect setting for the dynamic professionals of NetIP NA to congregate at for this signature three day Annual Conference on Labour Day weekend. I look forward to our Conference serving as the connecting point for all South Asians representing all niches, with the goal of sharing our expertise and experiences so as to elevate the individual and collective South Asian success story on a community and mainstream level."

The conference will be hosted at the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel and will gather over 800 members who will take part in the event. There will be South Asians from regional, national, and international levels who will get to listen to keynote speeches, participate in panel discussions, workshops, mixers, galas, parties, and even some excursions around the beautiful city. There will probably be discussions on the roles that Desi people play in society and especially in the work place. It's an exciting event for South Asians as it brings professional Indian people into one area, showing on its own the impact that Desi people are having in North America. The conference's theme of 'BELIEVE! CREATE! ACHIEVE!' will of course make everyone feel involved in a gathering that is really important for South Asians everywhere.

So what do our readers think about an event of this magnitude? Do you think that this event's network should broaden their scope of South Asians to include those in other areas as well? Tell us your thoughts in a comment below.



Desi St. Patrick's Day?

March 17 2009 18:15 PST

St. Patrick's Day may have been a completely religious holiday in the past, but today it seems like a day that people from all backgrounds get together to celebrate the day. So what about Desi people who decide to be Irish for a day?

There's no denying that St. Patrick's Day has become a day of over indulgence and admittedly a little debauchery. But St. Patrick's Day religiously doesn't have much to do with leprechauns, beer, or the color green. It was a holiday to celebrate St. Patrick, a man who is responsible for converting about 120,000 druids in Ireland from paganism to Christianity. But since the holiday spread to North America, it's almost customary to see people of all religious backgrounds, races, and creeds sporting a little green.

In Chicago, Illinois, the Chicago River is dyed green each year. In Boston, Massachusetts and New York City there are parades in addition to drinking, people donning green and leprechaun paraphernalia. There are even (believe it or not) Desi St. Patrick's Day parties. One taking place in California boasts on being the "GET LUCKY": Official Desi St. Patrick's Day Bash. So what's wrong with being a little green once a year? Desi people can celebrate by eating some Matar Paneer with a pint of Guinness, remixing some Irish melodies to have Desi flavor, or by wearing some green Desi clothing. Whatever you enjoy about the Americanized St. Patrick's Day can also be turned into a more Desi St. Patrick's Day including clovers, leprechauns, and of course, beer.

So we want to know if Desi Hits! readers do anything for St. Patrick's Day? Is this a fun holiday that brings a little Irish out in you that doesn't exist the rest of the year? Let us know your thoughts on all the St. Patrick's Day celebrations and whether or not you celebrate them.



50 Cent To Release Two Albums This Year

March 17 2009 17:15 PST

Rap superstar 50 Cent is ready to release two albums this year instead of just the one album we've been anticipating for the last few months or so. Just like his boss and label mate Eminem, 50 has a surplus of music that he wants to get out to his fans and he can't wait to get them both done.

"What they don't know ... the new announcement is that I'm dropping two albums," said 50 Cent. "I've had an opportunity to record since I thought I was releasing an album in December. But the portion of my record that I recorded with Dr. Dre was incomplete, because there was no opportunity to mix it. The only song that was mixed that I worked on with Dr. Dre is 'I Get It In - that one is out now. It's cool, but I need the rest of them to be mixed before I can present my project to the public."

The question you might have is, 'Since he's having so much trouble putting out one record, how is he going to put out two?' Well we'll have to wait and see, but the plan is for Eminem to come out with 'Relapse' on May 19, then 50 Cent's 'Before I Self-Destruct' album to follow one month after. Then, to capitalize on the 4th quarter album sales frenzy, Eminem will release his 2nd album of the year 'Relapse 2' and then once again, a month after, 50 follows up with his 2nd album, which doesn't have a title at the moment. This will be his first album since 2007's 'Curtis.'

While we continue to patiently wait for 50 Cent's now two albums, he will be on tour with none other than rock act Fall Out Boy. Yes, weird pairing, right? He will be performing five shows on their Believers Never Die Part Deux tour, opening up for them. 50 Cent? An opening act? Maybe that loss to Kanye West during their first week sales competition did more damage than we thought it did.

While these two artists are Interscope Records' biggest artists, they definitely have a ton of records to put out by artists like Dr. Dre, Wale, Drake, and Charles Hamilton, not to mention the pop and rock artists they have too, so it'll be interesting to see whether 50 Cent is right or if he's just blowing hot air.

So, it's time that you guys tell us what you think of 4 albums between Eminem and 50 Cent this year. Is it overkill? Can you not get enough of Shady /Aftermath artists? Drop us a comment and let us know what you think.

50 Cent at the red carpet for Get Rich or Die Trying



The Asian Woman Runway Model Scout Tour 2009 Launch Party Goes Bhangra

March 17 2009 15:40 PST

There are a lot of launch parties that take place every day in some of the world's best locations. They are a combination of great people, exquisite food, and hot music. So who wouldn't want to go to a party that brings sexy Asian models and hot names in Bhangra and the Urban Desi together at one event? Well look no further than The Asian Woman Runway Model Scout Tour 2009 Launch Party which takes place on Thursday March 26th.

The event is put together by the Asian Woman Runway whose models have appeared in everything from films, advertising, fashion shows, and many more entertainment avenues. This show will take place in London and allow scouts to be on the lookout for fresh faced talent for the modeling world. Best of all is the event's music list, which is one that will make fans jealous that they couldn't be there. On the long list of performers are names like H Dhami, Tasha, Ash King, and Serese, while the top DJs who will be spinning on the decks include DJ H, DJ Dips, DJ Sachy, and Martin 2Smoove. They are sure to make the launch party an evening that everyone will remember and definitely get the crowd going as well as the models.

So we wonder if any of our readers have what it takes to strut their stuff across a runway. Check out the poster of the event that is going to take place in a little over a week. Does the hot list of performers make you wish you could take part? Or would you rather go so you can be the first to check out some up and coming model talent? Let us know your thoughts on this event and leave your comments about the star studded performer list.



What Makes These Urban Desi Girls Hot?

March 17 2009 14:35 PST

Hard Kaur, M.I.A., Kazz Kumar, Veronica and Tina Sugandh are some smoking hot women. We don't mean physically hot, although that aspect certainly can't be denied. We mean that these women have taken their go get 'em attitude and created careers for themselves that are out of this world. And the greatest part is that they are all South Asian women!

Hard Kaur is an urban desi chic.Hard Kaur is currently tearing up the dance floor and has kicking some serious butt on the Indian dance reality show, "Jhalak Dikhla Ja". At such a young age, she managed to become the first female Indian rapper and gain a solid fan base. She has made quite a name for herself in the UK as well and India.

MIA Urban Desi ChicSimilarly, M.I.A. has been using her talents to produce, write songs, and perform. She has grown to international fame through hit songs like 'Paper Planes'.

Kazz Kumar is a hot Urban Desi Chic.Kazz Kumar another young, free spirited girl who has already done a world tour and is known for not only her music, but also her unique fashion sense.

Veronica Urban Desi Hot Chic

While Veronica's voice has taken her career to places she may have never imagined, like the top of BBC's Asian music chart for starters.

Tina Sungandh Urban Desi Hot chic.And who can forget Tina Sugandh who is a multi-talented Mumbai born diva that plays tabla, dances, writes, and sings.

All of these femme fatales have their own spark, talent, and success that have made them Urban Desi goddesses. So what is it about them that make them so hot? Is it luck mixed with talent or did these women just happen to be in the right place at the right time? We want you to think about these hot ladies and tell us what you think makes them such a hot success? Leave your comments and thoughts for us to read.

Urban Desi Girls